Craig Lowe: Laying the foundation for the city's economic success


Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 2:36 p.m.

For years community leaders, including myself, have been laying the foundation for economic success. Now we are achieving that goal in exciting ways, even in the midst of a national economic downturn.

Mindtree has established its base for North American operations at Innovation Square in Gainesville and is on course to expand and create 500 jobs with excellent salaries. Nearby, others, such as Fracture, are seeking to benefit from the creative climate that Gainesville has to offer.

Prioria Robotics has shown confidence in Gainesville's future by expanding into new facilities here creating dozens of new jobs. Other companies are actively considering locating in the Innovation Square area and in the Power District of southeast Gainesville.

These exciting developments will provide jobs with excellent salaries, which in turn contribute to our wider economy by spending in retail and other businesses creating a multiplier effect stimulating our local economy.

Silver Airways has relocated its aircraft maintenance facility here in northeast Gainesville, adding jobs not just for those with advanced degrees but also for those with high school diplomas. Since I was elected mayor, we've doubled the number of airlines serving Gainesville Regional Airport and tripled the numbers of destinations served by non-stop flights.

As your mayor when speaking to these companies and making the pitch for Gainesville, I stressed the quality of life that our community has worked to achieve and for which we have received national distinction. These companies responded by not only locating here but by citing quality of life as a major factor in their decision.

This quality of life that is the foundation for our economic success includes protecting our neighborhoods, exercising wise stewardship of our environment and recreation, fostering a creative cultural scene, and striving for equality.

As an elected official, I've worked to protect the integrity of single-family neighborhoods. We've protected nearly 1,000 acres of land through conservation zoning or outright purchase, while expanding recreation facilities at locations such as Cone Park. Finally, our arts scene has contributed to a level of vitality in our downtown that we have not seen for decades.

While we continue to strive for greater equality and opportunity, we've established a reputation as a city that welcomes the contributions of all of our citizens and seeks for all to share in our community's amenities.

As we move ahead we will face the challenge of developing and implementing a future-oriented transportation system that will provide our residents with cost-effective choices to get to work, school and play.

Another key component to our community's progress is our emphasis on renewable energy including solar, which creates more business and more jobs in our area while moving us away from dirty coal.

The achievements we have experienced have not been easily accomplished nor will be the challenges that lie ahead. They will require the same leadership and vision that I've demonstrated in my first term. I ask for your support on March 19 to continue our city's remarkable record of achievement.

Craig Lowe is one of six candidates for Gainesville mayor.

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